Half-Breed is the tenth studio album by American singer-actress Cher, released on October 27, 1973 by MCA. For the production of the album Cher returned with Snuff Garrett and Al Capps. Half-Breed was the second record for MCA and also promoted on her successful The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour show. After its release, the album faced mixed reviews from critics, and the RIAA certified it Gold on March 4, 1974. The album was her second solo album to receive a certification by RIAA.
The second album released by Cher in 1973 was Half-Breed. After the failure of the previous pop-standard style album, Bittersweet White Light, Cher abandoned forever her husband Sonny Bono as a producer for her albums. Snuff Garrett returned to work with Cher after the success of Cher and the minor hit Foxy Lady, recording another narrative ballad album.
David Paich contributed for the "David's Song" and for the arrangements in the album. The last song of the album, "Chastity Sun", was re-written by Cher. Originally entitled "Ruby Jean & Billy Lee" was a song by soft rock band Seals and Crofts released in their 1973 album Diamond Girl. The re-written version of Cher was a dedication to her first child Chastity Bono.
In August 1993, the original album was combined with Dark Lady and issued on one CD. Called Half Breed/Dark Lady, this release included all the tracks from both original albums. In contrast, several budget CDs have also been released titled Half Breed (note the lack of hyphen) by various labels. These albums use different covers, and contain only two tracks from the original album alongside selected tracks from other Cher albums, including Cher, Foxy Lady, and Dark Lady. The original Half-Breed album in its entirety remains unreleased on compact disc.
Half-Breed received mixed reviews from music critics. Peter Fawthrop of Allmusic gave the album three and a half stars and pointed out that the title track is "the only song here which would turn up on a greatest-hits collection", and that "there are plenty of other melodic, hippie-era tunes which are tailor-made for nights around the campfire." About the album style, it read "Melancholy and bittersweet from start to finish, there are enough charms to keep it lighthearted". Rolling Stone reviewer Paul Gambaccini gave a negative review for the album and to the production work of Snuff Garrett, but about Cher said that "Cher's amazingly powerful voice is not being used effectively, and it is frustrating to hear it squandered on rubbish."
Half-Breed debuted on the Billboard 200 at #171 in late September. The highest position that reached was at number #28. During 1974 sales reached 500,000 copies in North America, and it was certified gold.
The album also charted in the Canadian album chart and reached #21. In Europe it charted only in the Norway album chart, but like a number of her previous albums did not enter in the UK Albums Chart.
Like her previous successful albums Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves and Foxy Lady, only two singles were released. "Half-Breed" was the first single released. It was her second song that reached number one in the Billboard Hot 100 and it peaked in the Adult Contemporary chart at #3. It reached number one in Canada and in New Zealand. The song was performed live in The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, featuring Cher dressed as an Indian. A second and final single, "Carousel Man", was released as a promo in 1974. It was issued only to radio DJs in 1973 and managed to peak at #11 in the Billboard Airplay chart.